Interview with Marbling Art Designer Paola De Giovanni
Meanmagenta Marbling Art
by Paola De Giovanni
Paola De Giovanni is a curious creative with a penchant for marbling painting, accessory designing and flower photography.
“I don't fit in in any creative industries classification: I am a textile designer, marbling artist, photographer and fashion historian”.
She creates unique marbled wall art, fashion and home decor accessories like cotton/velvet cushions, bean bags, scarves, and lamp shades and wallpaper. Her marbling designs lend themselves very well to be printed on organic cotton, velvet and are special home accessories to treasure and to give all year round.
The unique patterns make a timeless design statement and add a stylish pop of colour to any lounge, bedroom, study, conservatory, and garden benches. And guess what?! She also accepts bespoke orders, commissions and keen to collaborate with stylists, interior designers, influencers, and art buyers to work together.
How did you start your accessory brand?
During the first lockdown I discovered the ancient ink painting technique called marbling and put together an impressive body of prints. This medium is a form of active meditation: soothing, liberating and empowering. What started as a creative way to cope with the emotional stress caused by the pandemic, soon became a stunning range of wall art, cushions and silk/velvet scarves.
What are your sources of inspiration?
Geology, natural patterns, my flower photographs and Fauvism are some of my sources of inspiration
Why do you do what you do? What do you like about your job?
I am an "unemployable" creative rebel. I don't get along with routines, structured working schedule and I get easily bored. Don't get me wrong, I work hard, and I am aware that doing what I love most is one of the life's biggest luxuries.
Do you have a signature style? Tell us more about your most popular designs.
"The marbled pebbles" print is one of my most popular marbling designs. I think because it is ethereal, yet colourful; and the colour palette goes well with most interiors design styles.
We would love to hear about your studio time and how you connect with your clients.
Beside my compact, but stylish studio, the creative process happens on the large kitchen table: marbling is a great art technique because I don't need too much space, it is not too messy, and it takes only a few minutes to set up everything to start my marbling session. The biggest item I need is the folding drying rack: instead of using it to dry my laundry, I hang my marbling prints to dry.
During the pandemic, one of the few positive things that came out for Paola was the ability to connect with many fabulous people who have often become her clients, especially on Instagram and LinkedIn.
“I love visiting trade fairs in London and abroad. After a year of virtual social interaction, I hope to get back to interact face to face with potential buyers and clients.”
Do you have a muse?
My utterly talented mum, Giulia is my main source of inspiration, the best role model both as a woman and as a creative, because of her resilience, values, optimism, and unflappable determination.
What's your proudest moment in your accessory designer career?
My creative business is still very young, having said that, 2020 was a very productive year and despite the pandemic, I had a few small wins; among them, I was invited to have a virtual booth at TopDrawer London in January 2021 and my home deco range was shortlisted by the Gift Association's Gift of The Year Award.
What makes you a happy artist?
The creative process itself is always very rewarding: I feel alive, fulfilled, and grounded. The best thing of being a creative entrepreneur is seeing how my products bring joy to other people, that somebody loves my work so much to invest in my art, to treat themselves or to give one of my prints to a loved one. To me it goes beyond the financial reward, it is a way to validate myself as a creative and an entrepreneur.
If there are no limitations, what would you like to create?
I would love to cover the facades of the buildings along the Grand Canal in Venice with my marbling printed on light see-through fabrics and have them installed as large external curtains, I think that would be a spectacular installation, especially on a sunny day with a gentle breeze!
Do you have any accessory styling advice for your clients?
Experiment, follow your instinct, try different styles, choose your favourite colour/s, and even though it is OK to be inspired by others, let your personality come through.
What skills are necessary to be a successful designer? Do you have any tips for the aspiring artists who want to start their own accessory brand?
Dogged determination and a good dose of ambition are a must. I bounced back and became more determined to succeed every time my work was rejected. I developed a neutral attitude to negative feedback. I always ask for feedback as to why my designs were not a good fit and then get onto the next contact, create or go after an opportunity. I always remind myself that a pity party is only a waste of precious time and energy. And sometimes it is not the right time for a project or collaboration, a "no" does not mean "never".
A flair for design helps, along with a good eye for colour combinations, ability to draw and use various media to create. And obviously it is essential to be willing to learn, be inquisitive, have a broad range of interests and be surrounded by great people from different professional backgrounds.
Which of your designs is your favourite? Can you tell us the story behind it?
"The Dragon's flames" is one of my favourite marbling prints. It is one of the earliest artworks and I remember how happy I was when the print was fully dry and ready to be put it into repeats. The title came to me out of nowhere, call it intuition, but the swirls and patterns made me think of a fantastic tale of bizarre creatures, I like dragons and the cobalt and black patterns suggested the title.
When I posted this marbling print on Instagram, it resonated with many followers: many saw amazing shapes and shared in their comments what they saw in my art, which I find utterly priceless. One of my "Insta-friends" shares with me the love for dragons and as a nickname I call him my "Dragon Bro". This is what I love most about being creative: make meaningful connections that spur me on to keep creating.
Tell us one secret that not many designers or customers know about accessory making.
My cushions can be printed by using either reactive printing, where the ink is infused into fabric and bursts with colour, or pigment printing, a mellow tone where the print sits on top of the fabric like glue. In either case, the overall design and colours are impactful and long lasting.
What's your prediction on trends for accessories? What style or colour would you recommend for 2021/22 Autumn/Winter?
Even though we often associate Autumn/Winter with darker colours, personally I think people want warm, but vibrant colours, maybe for fashion accessories or for an important item in their wardrobe. I like warm rusty hues, 1970s colour palettes, (the fashion historian in me is making an appearance, lol!). I also like amethyst, turquoise, mauve and pearl grey.
Do you have anything else you would like to let The Accessory Circle readers and customers know about you and your brand?
All my marbling art prints can be customised, I can create a bespoke, unique colour palette for each design: say for instance you love the "Dragon's flames" or "The marbled pebbles", as a design, but you'd rather have it in your favourite colours, or in the colour scheme of your home. I can take care of this and create your unique cushion, silk/velvet scarf, wall art, lamp shade and bean bag. I can ship worldwide, production time varies according to the items, usually between 3 and 5 working days, shipping time again depends on where you are in the world, for international orders it may take up to 10 working days.
London Accessory Week Team